James Simpson Ducksbury

First Name: 
Middle Name: 
Last Name: 
Alternate Spelling: 
Mother's Name: 
Mary Ducksbury (nee Scott)
Father's Name: 
Henry Ducksbury
Date Enlisted: 
Tuesday, September 1, 1914
Rank at Enlistment: 
Rank at Discharge: 
3rd Battalion, 5th Machine Gun Battalion
C Company
1914/15 STAR
Date of Death: 
Tuesday, April 30, 1918
Place of Death: 
Vignacourt British Cemetery
Cause of Death: 
Wound incurred in action (gassed)

James Ducksbury (Service No 523) was born in Unanderra around 1893. He grew up in the area and attended Unanderra Public School.

When James enlisted he was 21 years old,single, and working as a fireman.

One of the earliest recruits, he embarked from Sydney with the 3rd Battalion, C Company, on HMAT A14 Euripides on 20th October, 1914.

James served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force and fought in Egypt with the 55th Battalion, taking part in the Battle of Tel-el-kebir. On 4 March, 1916, he was sent to the School of Instruction at Zeitoun, and on 11 March, was transferred to the 14th Australian Machine Gun Company.

On 26 March, 1916, James was promoted to Corporal.

In June that year, James was sent to join the British Expeditionary Force, arriving in Marseilles, France on 25 June, 1916.

On 3 August, 1916, James was wounded in action in France, with a shrapnel wound to the head. Ten days later he was admitted to the 2nd Western General Hospital, Manchester, England.

While in England James was admitted to hospital on a number of occasions, and was also sent for further training to a number of facilities.

On 18 October, 1917, James returned to the Western Front, finally joining the 14th Australian Machine Gun Company in France.

On 14 April, 1918, James requested his rank revert back to Private, and his request was approved.

On 26 April, 1918 he was severely gassed during fighting in France. James was admitted to the 20th Casualty Clearing Station, and died of his wounds on 30 April.

James is buried in Vignacourt British Cemetery Plot I, Row E, Grave 9.

James is commemorated at the Australian War memorial, and locally in the All Saints Church at Figtree, as well as in the old Unanderra Public School (now replaced by new school).

One of the listings from the Red Cross Noticeboard states that James Simpson had a wife in England. Not to anyone’s knowledge here.

A package of his personal effects being sent home to his parents from England was lost at sea on the “Baringa”: 3 discs, 2 gold rings, fountain pen, ink pellet, case,2 metal wrist watches (damaged), 1 strap and protector, knife, match box cover, pipe, metal watch, badges, 2 wallets, note book, writing pad cover, photos, letters, cards, letter case (damaged), testament, metal protractor.

James was a noted cyclist and footballer having represented the South Coast on several occasions. He was very popular and there was great regret when the sad news came through.

Australia's Fighting Sons - Paragraph presumably supplied by Father Henry


Sim was a keen sportsman representing Unanderra and the district in cycling
Front side of a football medal for James Ducksbury
Football medal reverse inscribed IRL 1st grade premiers S DUXSBURY
Photograph of original grave marker cross in France
Lists rank as Sgt Unit 5 Aust MG Battn Buried Vignacourt Cemetery
Headstone Vignacourt British Cemetery France - Inscription  reads 523 PTE J. S. Ducksbury Australian Machine Gun Corps 30th April 1918. Verse reads though lost to sight thy memory is dear
Memorial on parents gravestone - Berkeley Pioneer Cemetery Inscription reads Also my beloved son and our dear Brother James Simspon Ducksbury Late AIF  Died of wounds, France, 30th April 1918, Aged 25 Years Until the day break and the shadows flee away
Picture of memorial plaque at Unanderra Public School
Comemorative plaque at Figtree church for James Simpson Ducksbury
Commemorative Memorial Plaque of All Saints Church Figtree


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